so i had a commercial audition today in beverly hills. right away, i’m a fraud. i mean, i can barely fucking afford pants, and i’m supposed to walk around rodeo drive and the like, playing off like im a “26-36 trendy asian go getter… think armani”. perhaps if it were the “mcarmani” and it were burger at mcdonalds, i could think as such.
instead, i brush up as best as i can, put on one of my best black satin shirts, long winter coat, brown dress shoes, and slap on some davidoff cologne… and make my way to the ghetto bus stop that lives at vermont and wilshire where a homeless man is stapling his pants up (i dont know where he got the stapler from). it’s funny, i get on the bus barely with enough change to get on, and as i look out the window. as the bus goes along wilshire, it goes from mcdonalds, alcohol stores, and pawn shops… to banks, bmw and porsche dealerships.
a little background. the audition that i’m walking into requested the tidbit above which fits me fine… i guess. i skipped over the fact that the rest of it read “asian and ambiguous, we’re looking for a TALL and HANDSOME MALE MODEL TYPES, to play a young business executive”. fucking great, why am i here? i walk into the office, and to my awful dismay, there are dudes that could make david beckham cry. tall good looking asian male models. these guys arent THINKING armani, they’re telling him what to design. shit. the only reason i didn’t walk out immediately was because this audition is worth five figures. do you know how far five figures goes at mcdonalds? id be the king of my mexican neighbourhood.
ok, so i check out the sides, and it’s going to be COMPLETELY improv. at this stage im imagining the only thing i have left to sell is the fact that i have a little acting ability. fine. ill peddle that if i must. the storyboard (which i believe i was the only one to notice was pinned on the door behind us) followed a young executive pitching an idea for the construction of a major building complex complete with island linking bridgework. as he pitches this (james bond style i’m asked), a phone rings, and he is given bad news. he deals with it, and continues to pitch his idea unfazed… but now focusing more energy on a gorgeous young lady who he KNOWS can help financially and influentially… if he can get her on board. following the phone call, he MUST appeal to her more… sexual energy MUST be in abundance.
so i wait my turn and get called in. the casting director (bit of a hot shot… whenever you go to beverly hills for a casting office, you KNOW they’re working with some big names, and are making some good money) and the assistant ask my height. i immediately decide the australian accent would benefit me here.
“i’m 5’7… or 170cm… rounded up from 169cm.”
*laughs and giggles*
“ross you’ve got a fantastic look”
*inaudible sigh from me*
so… they put on the camera, ask me for a slate, name, and side profiles. done. they ask me if i’m ready. no hesitation. “yep”.
and i lay this on them.
you’re welcome. i thought i’d get that out of the way. because when this project is finished, there’ll be no end to the thanks you’ll want to give me.
this is the opportunity of a life time. a revolutionary island complex. we’re talking reaching from island a, to b, to c… in not hours. but minutes.
some say impossible. some say “too expensive”. but they said the same thing to my peasant father when he said he wanted to raise a family in australia. but im here. and so are you.
so i want to talk about how you can be involved. how you can profit.
i’ve known some of you a long time. some even longer than others. and you’ve asked me if we can work together on a project. well this is that time. if you want to be with me, now is definitely the time.
individually, we don’t have the means. but together, as a team. we do. i want to know who wants to come with me and step forward.
what the fuck… was that my voice?
they land some more compliments on me, and naturally i feel great. i won’t take too much away from myself today because in this industry people spend a lot of time putting you down… but i take it all with a grain of salt. actors work best when their confidence is up, and it’s a casting directors job to make you comfortable and happy.
i walk out of the office feeling something less of a fraud.
fingers crossed guys.
I wanted to put up a note for Elizabeth Taylor. She was always one of my favourite classical “Golden Age” actresses, and while some may remember her for her personality outside of her work, marriages, and personal life; I loved the life she breathed into her work. While researching roles in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Suddenly Last Summer in particular, I always found my eyes drawn to her. Her sphere always seemed infinite, and she always left her vulnerability and humanity for all to see.
The world has truly lost a film star.
nor would you learn cooking from a book.
or how to date women from a book.
or how to act from a book.
yet there are hundreds of thousands of examples of every single one of these things. so what’s going on? are these authors swindling you out of your hard earned money? yes and no. for all of the above, knowledge is an important cornerstone to the relative field, and the initiative of a person to pursue such knowledge is without a doubt an imperative step towards bettering yourself.
however, i think there is oftentimes TOO much emphasis placed on the knowledge and theory of something as opposed to the practice. you hear it all the time though “you won’t know until you get out there and DO it”. books are often summaries drawn on the conclusions made by others, and experts or not, there is no substitute that can better in-field experience.
two main parallels that i draw on come from two of my loves. when i was first in acting school a year ago, i was often told to LISTEN. it sounded pretty easy. i mean read the text. “listen to the other person. focus on your partner. look into their eyes.” three sentences that every actor hears over and over again, and reads just as much while learning. yet it took me a year before it really clicked. as i was in a scene with my rehearsal partner from mysterious skin, i found myself alive to the situation, looking at them, and listening. like in real life. and being affected. and the words of the play fell from me, instead of being pushed. hm. so that’s what my acting teacher meant.
then in wing chun kung fu, i always remembered reading about using your “chi”… an inner energy which we all have and can harness (yeah try explaining that to someone). it was this mythical power that when used properly, allows someone of a much smaller stature to hit like they were twice their size. i was with an australian guy called allen, and he had at least half a foot, and sixty pounds on me. palm strike was the exercise of the day, and i couldn’t budge him after ten, twenty attempts. as i was practising a simple push, i tried again to think of what i had been doing, and what my master had been trying to show me about using “chi”. i felt a focus within me, instead of externally. and i tried again. allen was barely ready as he flew back six feet and tumbled to the floor.
i had all the knowledge for both instances at the start. but it wasn’t until i jumped in, that i’d be able to come to the conclusions that were being drawn for me in the beginning from the books, and from the teachers.
get off the couch. get your hands dirty. whip somebody’s ass.
so by now we know alexandra wallace from ucla. with my current role of john chinaman in “chinese massacre” (which mind you opens at circle x theatre in glendale, CA, april 16 and runs until may 22) i felt a video response had to be done.
good luck to all white chicks with large breasts currently trying to study in UCLA library while asians inconsiderately use their phones to discuss laundry and food.
that whole thing about taking an idea, and making it better is old. it’s as old as humanity itself. without the constant desire to progress and evolve, we’d still be stuck in the stone ages using stones and rocks, which never advanced into steel tools. i guess though, this need for progress came out of the united needs of humanity.
when the principle is applied then to the egotisitcal warpath of an actor trying to heal the wounds of being fired (something he, and many others thought to be an impossibility) you get a luke warm, 15 minutes of fame with a celebrity, sprinkled with bits of “wtf” and it’s not quite as good as stuff i’ve seen before.
because that’s what it is isn’t it? how can charlie sheen be so desperate to prove something to people? i guess in an industry like hollywood, it can be easy to be swept up in what you’re presented with. here is a talented actor, who became a star, and who’s money, and no doubt legions of “yes” men created a world for him in which he is god. there is an acting exercise in which a person sits in the middle, and those around them make a circle and “empower” that actor as something or someone. they state facts about whatever the person in the middle might be wearing, mannerisms they may be displaying, to reach a congruency with whatever title, or character they are being empowered with. after a while, as the actor in the middle it becomes very easy to become this other… character. this isn’t just an acting exercise, it’s common in real life too. spend enough time with people around you saying you’re god for example, and it’s going to get to your head.
but eventually when some of it starts to slip away, the real person comes back, and it’s not always the most pleasant realisation. charlie sheen has insecurities just like anybody else (just like me… though i don’t have 200 million dollars and a sparkling acting career to go with it), and this is a kneejerk reaction. any attention is good attention. any support is good support, to try and reach back to being a god. there was a video of charlie sheen dancing with his lovely porn star family just a month ago, and when you see the video…
… it’s just an old fart dancing with some girls half his age. you know when you go out to a club, and there’s a group of gorgeous girls dancing, and one moron with not a chance in hell with any of them, trying to get in on the group… but at the same time has no idea how to interact, or get close with them without being awkward? that’s charlie sheen. but he has 200 million dollars, a career, and a name that anyone looking for 15 minutes of fame could be proud of.
anyway, i got started on this article because i saw the similarities between the videos charlie sheen is releasing, and those viral chuck norris gags, and old spice gags, which i think are brilliant by the way. i think charlie sheen would be a whole lot funnier, if he were doing this for the right reasons… instead of just trying to prove something to someone. because at the moment, the only people he’s fooling is himself… by the way, what the hell is bi-winning?
condescending armchair blogger. out.
the title says it all. if you’re not australian, you’re probably not familiar with the term “turn it up”. it’s not dissimilar to “pull the other leg”, “fuck off”, “you’re joking”, “get serious” or phrases of comparable meaning.
so when i read that kim kardashian had released a single aptly titled “jam/turn it up” i had to check it out. needless to say, i was underwhelmed. even with autotuning, and background beats minimising the need for her input, or perhaps even presence in the studio one can’t help but feel the woman is about as musically inclined as a bar of soap.
19th century evolutionist, thomas henry huxley once famously said “put a hundred monkeys at a hundred typewriters, and eventually you’d get the works of william shakespeare”. to be honest, i’d feel pretty fucking ripped off if i were an ape, because here we are in 2011, and there is proof that a hundred moronic humans working in our high tech studios can only come up with the works of kim kardashian on youtube.
enough bitching though. in a personal plug, i had my first rehearsal at the circle x theatre for the play “chinese massacre” by tom jacobson. our first read through really brought to light the feel of this play and i’ve a good feeling about it.
on a side note, one of my best friends once told me “don’t rely on other people for your happiness”. i’m finding in this town perhaps more than anywhere else, that’s spot on. this guy has never let me down.